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a sewin' machine."

Says I, "Josiah, I have got a couple of sewin' machines
by me that have run pretty well for upwards of — well it
haint necessary to go into particulars, but they have run
for considerable of a spell anyway" — says I, "I can git
along without another one, though no doubt it would be
handy to have round."

But Josiah hung onto that machine. And then he up
and said he was goin' to buy a organ. Thomas Jefferson
wanted one too. They both seemed sot onto that organ,
Tirzah Ann took hern with her of course when she was
married, and Josiah said it seemed so awful lonesome
without any Tirzah Ann or any music, that it seemed al-
most as if two girls had married out of the family instead
of one. He said money couldn't buy us another Tirzah
Ann, but it would buy us a new organ, and he was de-
termined to have one. He said it would be so handy for

729



HOW WE BOUGHT A SEWIN' MACHINE

her to play on when she came home, and for other com-
pany. And then Thomas J. can play quite well ; he can
play any tune, almost, with one hand, and he sings first-
rate, too. He and Tirzah Ann used to sing together a
sight ; he sings bearatone, and she sulfireno^ — that is what
they call it They git up so many new-fangled names
nowadays, that I think it is most a wonder that I don't
make a slip once in a while and git things wrong. I
should, if I hadn't got a mind like a ox for strength.

But as I said, Josiah was fairly sot on that machine and
organ, and I thought I'd let him have his way. So it got
out that we was goin' to buy a sewin' machine, and a
organ. Well, we made up our minds on Friday, pretty
late in the afternoon, and on Monday forenoon I was a
washin', when I heard a knock at the front door, and I
wrung my hands out of the water and went and opened it.
A slick lookin' feller stood there, and I invited him in
and sot him a chair.

"I hear you are talkin' about buyin' a musical instru-
ment," says he.

"No," says I, "we are goin' to buy a organ."

"Well," says he, "I want to advise you, not that I have
any interest in it at all, only I don't want to see you so
imposed upon. It fairly makes me mad to see a Metho-
dist imposed upon; I lean towards that perswasion my-
self. Organs are liable to fall to pieces any minute. There
haint no dependence on 'cm at all, the insides of 'em are
liable to break out at any time. If you have any regard
for your own welfare and safety, you will buy a piano.
Not that I have any interest in advising you, only my de-
votion to the cause of Right ; pianos never wear out."

"Where should we git one?" says I, for I didn't want
Josiah to throw away his property.

"Well," says he, "as it happens, I guess I have got one

730



JOSIAH ALLEN'S WIFE

out here in the wagon. I believe I threw one into the bot-
tom of the wagon this mornin', as I was a comin' down
by here on business. I am glad now I did, for it always
makes me feel ugly to see a Methodist imposed upon.

Josiah came into the house in a few minutes, and I told
him about it, and says I :

"How lucky it is Josiah, that we found out about or-
gans before it was too late."

But Josiah asked the price, and said he wasn't goin' to
pay out no three hundred dollars, for he wasn't able.
But the man asked if we was willin' to have it brought
into the house for a spell — we could do as we was a mind
to about buyin' it; and of course we couldn't refuse, so
Josiah most broke his back a liftin' it in, and they set it
up in the parlor, and after dinner the man went away.

Josiah bathed his back with linement, for he had
strained it bad a liftin' that piano, and I had jest got back
to my washin' again (I had had to put it away to git din-
ner) when I heerd a knockin' again to the front door, and
I pulled down my dress sleeves and went and opened it,
and there stood a tall, slim feller ; and the kitchen bein'
all cluttered up I opened the parlor door and asked him
in there, and the minute he catched sight of that piano, he
jest lifted up both hands, and says he:

"You haint got one of them here !"

He looked so horrified that it skairt me, and says I in
almost tremblin' tones:

"What is the matter with 'em?" And I added in a
cheerful tone, "we haint bought it."

He looked more cheerful too as I said it, and says he
"You may be thankful enough that you haint. There
haint no music in 'em at all; hear that," says he, goin'
up and strikin' the very top note. It did sound flat enough.



731



HOW WE BOUGHT A SEWIN' MACHINE

Says I, "There must be more music in it than that,
though I haint no judge at all."

"Well, hear that, then," and he went and struck the
very bottom note. "You see just what it is, from top to
bottom. But it haint its total lack of music that makes
me despise pianos so, it is because they are so dangerous."

"Dangerous?" says I.

"Yes, in thunder storms, you see;" says he, liftin' up
the cover, "here it is all wire, enough for fifty lightnin'
rods — draw the lightnin' right into the room. Awful dan-
gerous! No money would tempt me to have one in my
house with my wife and daughter. I shouldn't sleep a
wink thinkin' I had exposed 'em to such danger."

"Good land !" says I, "I never thought on it before."

"Well, now you have thought of it, you see plainly that
a organ is jest what you need. They are full of music,
safe, healthy and don't cost half so much."

Says I, "A organ was what we had sot our minds on at
first."

"Well, I have got one out here, and I will bring it in."

"What is the price ?" says I.

"One hundred and ninety dollars," says he.

"There won't be no need of bringin' it in at that price,"
says I, "for I have heerd Josiah say, that he wouldn't
give a cent over a hundred dollars."

"Well," says the feller, "I'll tell you what I'll do. Your
countenance looks so kinder natural to me, and I like the
looks of the country round here so well, that if your mind
is made up on the price you want to pay, I won't let a trifle
of ninety dollars part us. You can have it for one hun-
dred."

"Well, the end on't was, he brung it in and sot it up the
other end of the parlor, and drove off. And when Josiah
come in from his work, and Thomas J. come home from
Jonesville, they liked it first rate.

732



JOSIAH ALLEN'S WIFE

But the very next day, a new agent come, and he looked
awful skairt when he katched sight of that organ, and
real mad and indignant too.

"That villain haint been a tryin' to get one of them
organs off onto you, has he?" says he.

"What is the trouble with 'em?" says I, in a awe-
struck tone, for he looked bad.

"Why," says he, "there is a heavy mortgage on every
one of his organs. If you bought one of him, and paid for
it, it would be liable to be took away from you any minute
when you was right in the middle of a tune, leavin' you a
settin' on the stool; and you would lose every cent of
your money."

"Good gracious !" says I, for it skairt me to think what
a narrow chance we had run. Well, finally, he brung in
one of hisen, and sot it up in the kitchen, the parlor bein'
full on 'em.

And the fellers kep' a comin' and a goin' at all hours.
For a spell, at first, Josiah would come in and talk with
'em, but after a while he got tired out, and when he would
see one a comin' he would start on a run for the barn, and
hide, and I would have to stand the brunt of it alone. One
feller see Josiah a runnin' for the barn, and he follered
him in, and Josiah dove under the barn, as I found out
afterwards. I happened to see him a crawlin' out after
the feller drove off. Josiah come in a shakin' himself —
for he was all covered with straw and feathers — and says
he:

"Samantha there has got to be a change."

"How is there goin' to be a change ?" says I.

"I'll tell you," says he, in a whisper — for fear some on
'em was prowlin' round the house yet — "we will git up
before light to-morrow mornin', and go tp Jonesville and
buy a organ right out."

733



HOW WE BOUGHT A SEWIN' MACHINE

I fell in with the idee, and we started for Jonesville the
next mornin'. We got there jest after the break of day,
and bought it of the man to the breakfast table. Says
Josiah to me afterwards, as we was goin' down into the
village :

"Let's keep dark about buyin' one, and see how many
of the creeters will be a besettin' on us to-day."

So we kep' still, and there was half a dozen fellers fol-
lerin' us round all the time a most, into stores and gro-
ceries and the manty makers, and they would stop us on
the sidewalk and argue with us about their organs and
pianos. One feller, a tall slim chap, never let Josiah out
of his sight a minute ; and he follered him when he went
after his horse, and walked by the side of the wagon clear
down to the store where I was, a arguin' all the way about
his piano. Josiah had bought a number of things and left
'em to the store, and when we got there, there stood the
organ man by the side of the things, jest like a watch dog.
He knew Josiah would come and git 'em, and he could git ^
the last word with him.

Amongst other things, Josiah had bought a barrel of
salt, and the piano feller that had stuck to Josiah so tight
that day, offered to help him on with it. And the organ
man — not goin' to be outdone by the other — he offered
too. Josiah kinder winked to me, and then he held the old
mare, and let 'em lift. They wasn't used to such kind of
work, and it fell back on 'em once or twice, and most
squashed 'em; but they nipped to, and lifted again, and
finally got it on ; but they was completely tuckered out.

And then Josiah got in, and thanked 'em for the liftin' ;
and the organ man, a wipin' the sweat offen his face —
that had started out in his hard labor — said he should be
down to-morrow mornin' ; and the piano man, a pantin'
for breath, told Josiah not to make up his mind till he

734



JOSIAH ALLEN'S WIFE

came; he should be down that night if he got rested
enough.

And then Josiah told 'em that he should be glad to see
'em down a visitin' any time, but he had jest bought a
organ.

I don't know but what they would have laid holt of
Josiah, if they hadn't been so tuckered out; but as it was,
they was too beat out to look anything but sneakin' ; and
so we drove off.

The manty maker had told me that day, that there was
two or three new agents with new kinds of sewin' ma-
chines jest come to Jonesville, and I was tellin' Josiah on
it, when we met a middle-aged man, and he looked at us
pretty close, and finally he asked us as he passed by, if
we could tell him where Josiah Allen lived.

Says Josiah, "I'm livin' at present in a Democrat."

Says I, "In this one-horse wagon, you know."

Says he, "You are thinkin' of buyin' a sewin' machine,
haint you ?"

Says Josiah, "I am a turnin' my mind that way."

At that, the man turned his horse round, and follered
us, and I see he had a sewin' machine in front of his
wagon. We had the old mare and the colt, and seein' a
strange horse come up so close behind us, the colt started
off full run towards Jonesville, and then run down a
cross-road and into a lot.

Says the man behind us, "I am a little younger than
you be, Mr. Allen; if you will hold my horse I will go
after the colt with pleasure."

Josiah was glad enough, and so he got into the feller's
wagon ; but before he started off, the man, says he :

"You can look at that machine in front of you while I
am gone. I tell you frankly, that there haint another ma-
chine equal to it in America; it requires no strength at

735



HOW WE BOUGHT A SEWIN' MACHINE

all ; infants, can run it for days at a time; or idiots; if any-
body knows enough to set and whistle, they can run this
machine; and it's especially adapted to the blind — blind
people can run it jest as well as them that can see. A blind
woman last year, in one day, made 43 dollars a makin'
leather aprons ; stitched them all round the age two rows.
She made two dozen of 'em, and then she made four dozen
gauze veils the same day, without changin' the needle.
That is one of the beauties of the machine, its goin' from
leather to lace, and back again, without changin' the
needle. It is so tryin' for wimmen, every time they want
to go from leather to gauze and book muslin, to have to
change the needle; but you can see for yourself that it
haint got its equal in North America,"

He heerd the colt whinner, and Josiah stood up in the
wagon, and looked after it. So he started off down the
cross road.

And we sot there, feelin' considerable like a procession ;
Josiah holdin' the stranger's horse, and I the old mare;
and as we sot there, up driv another slick lookin' chap,
and I bein' ahead, he spoke to me, and says he :

"Can you direct me, mom, to Josiah Allen's house?"

"It is about a mile from here," and I added in a friendly
tone, "Josiah is my husband."

"Is he?" says he, in a genteel tone.

"Yes," says I, "we have been to Jonesville, and our colt
run down that cross road, and — "

"I see," says he interruptin' of me, "I see how it is."
And then he went on in a lower tone, "If you think of
buyin' a sewin' machine, don't git one of that feller in the
wagon behind you — I know him well ; he is one of the
most worthless shacks in the country, as you can plainly
see by the looks of his countenance. If I ever see a face
in which knave and villain is wrote down, it is on hisen.

736



JOSIAH ALLEN'S WIFE

Any one with half an eye can see that he would cheat his
grandmother out of her snuff handkerchief, if he got a
chance."

He talked so fast that I couldn't git a chance to put in
a word age ways for Josiah.

"His sewin' machines are utterly worthless; he haint
never sold one yet ; he cant. His character has got out —
folks know him. There was a lady tellin' me the other
day that her machine she bpught of him, all fell to pieces
in less than twenty- four hours after she bought it; fell
onto her infant, a sweet little babe, and crippled it for
life. I see your husband is havin' a hard time of it with
that colt. I will jest hitch my horse here to the fence, and
go down and help him ; I want to have a little talk with
him before he comes back here." So he started off pn the
run.

I told Josiah what he said about him, for it madded me,
but Josiah took it cool. He seemed to love to set there
jand see them two men run. I never did see a colt act as
that pne did ; they didn't have time to pass a word with
each other, to find out their mistake, it kep' 'em so on a
keen run. They would git it headed towards us, and then
it would kick up its heels, and run into some lot, and
canter round in a circle with its head up in the air, and
then bring up short ag'inst the fence; and then they
would leap over the fence. The first one had white panta-
loons on, but he didn't mind 'em ; over he would go, right
into sikuta or elderbushes, and they would wave their
hats at it, and holler, and whistle, and bark like dogs,
and the colt would whinner and start off again right the
wrong way, and them two men would go a pantin' after
it. They had been a runnin' nigh onto half an hour, when
a good lookin' young feller come along, and seein' me a
settin' still and holdin' the old mare, he up and says :

737



HOW WE BOUGHT A SEWIN' MACHINE

"Are you in any trouble that I can assist you ?"

Says I, "We are goin' home from Jonesville, Josiah
and me, and our colt got away and — "

But Josiah interrupted me, and says he, "And them
two fools a caperin' after it, are sewin' machine agents."

The good lookin' chap see all through it in a minute,
and he broke out into a laugh it would have done your
soul good to hear, it was so clear and hearty, and honest.
But he didn't say a word ; he drove out to go by us, and
we see then that he had a sewin' machine in the buggy.

"Are you a agent?" says Josiah,

"Yes," says he.

"What sort of a machine is this here?" says Josiah,
liftin' up the cloth from the machine in front of him.

"A pretty good one," says the feller, lookin' at the name
on it.

"Is yours as good ?" says Josiah.

"I think it is better," says he. And then he started up
his horse.

"Hello! stop!" says Josiah.

The feller stopped.

"Why don't you nui down other fellers' machines, and
beset us to buy yourn ?"

"Because I don't make a practice of stoppin' people on
the street."

"Do you haunt folks day and night; foller 'em up lad-
ders, through trap-doors, down sullers, and under barns ?"

"No," says the young chap, "I show people how my
machine works ; if they want it, I sell it ; and if they don't,
I leave."

"How much is your machine?" says Josiah.

"75 dollars."

"Can't you," says Josiah, "because I look so much like
your old father, or because I am a Methodist, or because

738



JOSIAH ALLEN'S WIFE

my wife's mother used to live neighbor to your grand-
mother — let me have it for 25 dollars?"

The feller got up on his wagon, and turned his machine
round so we could see it plain — it was a beauty — and says
he:

"You see this machine, sir; I think it is the best one
made, although there is no great difference between this
and the one over there ; but I think what difference there
is, is in this one's favor. You can have it for 75 dollars
if you want it ; if not, I will drive on."

"How do you like the looks on it, Samantha?"

Says I, "It is the kind I wanted to git."

Josiah took out his wallet, and counted out 75 dollars,
and says he :

"Put that machine into that wagon where Samantha
is."

The good lookin' feller was jest liftin' of it in, and
countin' over his money, when the two fellers come up
with the colt. It seemed that they had had a explanation
as they was comin' back; I see they had as quick as I
catched sight on 'em, for they was a walkin' one on one
side of the road, and the other on the other, most tight
up to the fence. They was most dead the colt had run
'em so, and it did seem as if their faces couldn't look no
redder nor more madder than they did as we catched
sight on 'em and Josiah thanked 'em for drivin' back the
colt ; but when they see that the other feller had sold us a
machine, their faces did look redder and madder.

But I didn't care a mite ; we drove off tickled enough
that we had got through with our sufferin's with agents.
And the colt had got so beat out a runnin' and racin', that
he drove home first-rate, walkin' along by the old mare as
stiddy as a deacon.



739



CHEER FOR THE CONSUMER

BY NIXON WATERMAN

I'm only a consumer, and it really doesn't matter

If you crowd me in the street cars till I couldn't well be

flatter;
I'm only a consumer, and the strikers may go striking,
For it's mine to end my living if it isn't to my liking.
I am a sort of parasite without a special mission
Except to pay the damages — mine is a queer position :
The Fates unite to squeeze me till I couldn't well be flatter,
For I'm only a consumer, and it really doesn't matter.

The baker tilts the price pf bread upon the vaguest rumor
Of damage to the wheat crop, but I'm only a consumer.
So it really doesn't matter, for there's no law that com-

pells me
To pay the added charges on the loaf of bread he sells me.
The iceman leaves a smaller piece when days are growing

hotter.
But I'm only a consumer, and I do not need iced water :
My business is to pay the bills and keep in a good humor.
And it really doesn't matter, for I'm only a consumer.

The milkman waters milk for me; there's garlic in my

butter,
But I'm only a consumer, and it does no good to mutter;
I know that coal is going up and beef is getting higher,
But I'm only a consumer, and I have no need of fire;

740



NIXON WATERMAN

While beefsteak is a luxury that wealth alone is needing,
I'm only a consumer, and what need have I for feeding?
My business is to pay the bills and keep in a good humor,
And it really doesn't matter, since I'm only a consumer.

The grocer sells me addled eggs; the tailor sells me
shoddy,

I'm only a consumer, and I am not anybody.

The cobbler pegs me paper soles, the dairyman short-
weights me,

I'm only a consumer, and most everybody hates me.

There's turnip in my pumpkin pie and ashes in my pepper,

The world's my lazaretto, and I'm nothing but a leper ;

So lay me in my lonely grave and tread the turf down
flatter,

I'm only a consumer, and it really doesn't matter.



741



A DESPERATE RACE

BY J. F. KELLEY

Some years ago, I was one of a convivial party that met
in the principal hotel in the town of Columbus, Ohio, the
seat of government of the Buckeye state.

It was a winter's evening, when all without was bleak
and stormy and all within were blithe and gay, — when
song and story made the circuit of the festive board, fill-
ing up the chasms of life with mirth and laughter.

We had met for the express purpose of making a night
of it, and the pious intention was duly and most re-
ligiously carried out. The Legislature was in session in
that town, and not a few of the worthy legislators were
present upon this occasion.

One of these worthies I will name, as he not only took
a big swath in the evening's entertainment, but he was a
man more generally known that our worthy President,
James K. Polk. That man was the famous Captain Riley,
whose "Narrative" of suffering and adventures is pretty
generally known all over the civilized world. Captain
Riley was a fine, fat, good-humored joker, who at the
period of my story was the representative of the Dayton
district, and lived near that little city when at home. Well,
Captain Riley had amused the company with many of his
far-famed and singular adventures, which, being mostly
told before and read by millions of people that have seen
his book, I will not attempt to repeat.

Many were the stories and adventures told by the com-

742



J. F. KELLEY

pany, when it came to the turn of a well-known gentleman

who represented the Cincinnati district. As Mr.

is yet among the living, and perhaps not disposed to be
the subject of joke or story, I do not feel at liberty to give

his name. Mr. was a slow believer of other men's

adventures, and, at the same time, much disposed to
magnify himself into a marvellous hero whenever the op-
portunity offered. As Captain Riley wound up one of his

truthful though really marvellous adventures, Mr.

coolly remarked that the captain's story was all very well,
but it did not begin to compare with an adventure that
he had, "once upon a time," on the Ohio, below the pres-
ent city of Cincinnati.

"Let's have it !"— "Let's have it !" resounded from all
hands.

"Well, gentlemen," said the Senator, clearing his voice
for action and knocking the ashes from his cigar against
the arm of his chair, — "gentlemen, I am not in the habit
of spinning yarns of marvellous or fictitious matters ; and
therefore it is scarcely necessary to affirm upon the re-
sponsibility of my reputation, gentlemen, that what I am
about to tell you I most solemnly proclaim to be truth,
and—"

"Oh, never mind that: go on, Mr. ," chimed the

party.

"Well gentlemen, in i8 — I came down the Ohio River,
and settled at Losanti, now called Cincinnati. It was
at that time but a little settlement of some twenty or thirty
log and frame cabins, and where now stand the Broadway
Hotel and blocks of stores and dwelling-houses, was the

cottage and corn-patch of old Mr. , the tailor, who,

by the bye, bought that land for the making of a coat for
one of the settlers. Well, I put up my cabin, with the aid
of my neighbors, and put in a patch of corn and potatoes,

743



A DESPERATE RACE

about where the Fly Market now stands, and set about
improving my lot, house, etc.

"Occasionally I took up my rifle and started off with
my dog down the river, to look up a little deer pr bar
meat, then very plenty along the river. The blasted red-
skins were lurking about and hovering around the settle-
ment, and every once in a while picked off some of our
neighbors or stole our cattle or horses. I hated the red
demons, and made no bones of peppering the blasted
sarpents whenever I got a sight of them. In fact, the red
rascals had a dread of me, and had laid a good many
traps to get my scalp, but I wasn't to be catched napping.
No, no, gentlemen, I was too well up to 'em for that.

"Well, I started off one morning, pretty early, to take
a hunt, and traveled a long way down the river, over the
bottoms and hills, but couldn't find no bar nor deer.
About four o'clock in the afternoon I made tracks for the
settlement again. By and by I sees a buck just ahead of
me, walking leisurely down the river. I slipped up, with
my faithful old dog close in my rear, to within clever


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